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Haaland Reveals Administration Plan for Massive Expansion of Offshore Wind

October 13, 2021 by Dan McCue
Wind turbines at the Block Island Wind Farm, off the coast of Rhode Island. (Suzanne Tegen / NREL)

BOSTON, Mass. — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told attendees at a wind energy conference on Wednesday that the Biden administration wants to dramatically expand the nation’s use of wind power, opening large swaths of coastal waters to wind farm development.

In a speech before American Clean Power’s Offshore WINDPOWER conference and exhibition, Haaland said BOEM is prepared to hold up to seven new offshore lease sales by 2025 for portions of the Gulf of Maine, the New York Bight, the Central Atlantic and the Carolinas, the Gulf of Mexico, California and Oregon.

“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” Haaland said in a written statement released after her remarks.

“This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities. We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment,” she said.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration approved the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

It has since approved opening up two areas off the shores of Central and Northern California for commercial wind power development.

President Biden’s executive order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, directed the Interior Department to work with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands and waters.

The directive included a commitment to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and a target goal of permitting at least 25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy by 2025.

BOEM is currently refining its process for identifying additional areas that may be suitable for offshore wind energy leasing. 

“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in a written statement. 

“At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new wind energy areas,” she said.

In addition to identifying new offshore wind lease sales, BOEM is considering new lease stipulations consistent with the goals and objectives of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

These include lessee reporting requirements on efforts to minimize conflicts with other ocean users; mechanisms for project labor agreements; and investments in the U.S. domestic supply chain. 

Such stipulations were included in the New York Bight Proposed Sale Notice announced in June.

The Bight, for those unfamiliar with the area, is a stretch of shallow ocean between Long Island and the coast of New Jersey.

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